The Alaska Democratic Party cancelled in-person voting for its presidential primary election. (Alaska Democratic Party Facebook page/screenshot)

In a pandemic, there’s no such thing as politics as usual. As state and local governments continue to push quarantines and social distancing to curb the spread of COVID-19, the Alaska Democratic Party and the Recall Dunleavy campaign are reaching voters by mail. 

Until recently, recall volunteers were organizing dozens of petition-signing events across the state, working toward the 71,000 signatures needed to put the issue on the ballot. Recall Campaign Manager Claire Pywell says that strategy was quickly upended when the coronavirus put an end to public gatherings. 

“We know everything has changed, right, in light of this pandemic,” Pywell said. “And we also know that we owe it to over 49,000 people who signed the recall application in the fall of 2019 who know they need to sign again this winter.”

So, the campaign got permission from the state to send official booklets out by mail, for people to sign at home. Piewell says they’ve had over 2,000 requests for booklets since adopting the mail-in strategy. She also says COVID-19 has not altered the campaign’s fundamental approach. 

“Yes, of course there’s a pandemic now,” Pywell said. “But does that change, essentially, that Dunleavy’s the wrong man for the job? No.”

Meanwhile, the Alaska Democratic Party has cancelled all in-person voting for its presidential primary election, which had been scheduled for April 4th. 

Instead, all voting will take place by mail, and the deadline has been extended — ballots must be received in Anchorage by April 10th. 

In a press release, Executive Director Lindsay Kavanaugh said the party has already mailed ballots to over 71,000 registered Democrats. 

Ten other states and Puerto Rico have postponed their presidential primaries over coronavirus concerns, while Wyoming has also cancelled in-person voting.